A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to play two games of Witchfinder General (click HERE for the battle report) and I was surprised by how easy the game plays. Since I have had the book myself for quite some time, but haven’t done anything with it, I decided it is time to delve into it again for a review.
Witchfinder General (Dashing Dice Games) lets you fight the fictional battles during the Witch Hunts in 17th century England, but can also easily be used to play small skirmishers during the English Civil War or other conflicts set in the 17th century.
The battles are fought between two factions, first there are the Witchfinders. Brave men supported by musketeers, pikemen, cavaly and the villagers plagued by the forces of evil, who make up the other faction. Led by vampires and witches, the monsters and evil men (Blinders) try their best to destroy the world as we know it.
A first look into the book is quite overwhelming. Lots of text broken up by nice pictures of miniatures and battle scenes. Leaving through the book there appears to be lots of rules for firing, fighting and even for listening, but that’s because the writer took his time to explain everything in detail. The game basics are actually quite easy. Players take turns activating a small unit of different models grouped together, for example three musketeers and two pikemen, and take two actions with them, like move forward and than shoot. After that your opponent activates a group. Alternatively you can activate three individual miniatures, like witches or bigger monsters.
For moving, fighting shooting and such there are some basic stats explained on the models statcard. For example a musketeer hit an enemy within close distance (1″ to 4″) on a 3+, while on long distance (12″ to 20″) he needs a 5+ to hit. After firing you have to choose a “reload” action in order to shoot again later.
Combat or fisticuffs as they call it in the book is fought simultaniously. Both players roll their attack and defence dice at the same time and the higher roll cancels the other one out. For example two pikemen are fighting each other. The first rolls a 3 on attack and a 2 on defence, the enemy rolls a 4 on attack and a 4 on defence. They both recieve a +2 bonus as mentioned on their statcard. The first one doesn’t hit his enemy, beacause his enemy rolled higher on his defencerol then he did on his attack roll. His enemy however rolled higher on his attack roll than he did on his defence roll ad now has to roll on the injury table.
The advanced rules allow for, amongst other things, sneaking and listening in the dark for your opponents, putting musketeers on guard (overwatch, or you can shoot in your opponents turn as soon as the model can see anything) or leting your witch fly on a broomstick across the field throwing bombs and leering at people.
I really like these rules, they are fast, fun, easy to learn and create a game with good character and great atmosphere. Besides the scenarios given, you can go nuts creating your own scenarios and make them as challenging as you please.
The book is quite cheap and can be bought almost in any wargamingshop which also sells historical miniatures and is a great book to have if you want to have a fun game with beer and meat (I don’t like pretzels :p)
Have you played Witchfinder General? If so, what is your opinion about this game? Let me know in the comments below.